Kristina Modares | Open House Austin
KRISTINA MODARES | OPEN HOUSE AUSTIN
Kristina is a realtor and investor. She focuses on first time buyers and sellers in the Austin area.
*edited for length
SO WHY DID YOU MOVE TO AUSTIN?
So I moved here in 2012 when I graduated college. One of my best friends from college had moved to Austin and its funny because she's not here any longer. But she was like, I know you'll love this city so much! So when I graduated, I was very up in the air with what I wanted to do and where I wanted to live. And my boyfriend at the time, we broke up and so I was like ‘whatever I'm just gonna move and figure it out as I go’. So I packed up my car and drove down here. Never been here before and I'd never felt so at home in a place, so it worked out
WHAT DID YOU STUDY IN COLLEGE?
I studied something that I shouldn't have hospitality management which like you don't really need a degree to do that. I was going to do event coordinating with it so I was kind of confused on what I wanted to do when I was younger. So I did that and did event coordinating for like a year or two in Austin and didn't really see myself going too far in it. So thats when I explored different options.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOU DIFFERENT THAN OTHER REALTORS IN AUSTIN?
Well I think thats partially why I moved to get my license because I originally wanted to...I started reading a lot about different career paths and what I really wanted. And I really wanted financial freedom, and that led me towards real estate and investing. Then I tried buying a house and it was so unorganized. Nobody was really directing me on what to do first, and an older lady was showing me around and didn't really understand what I wanted. I was like, this is not working. So I thought maybe if I get my license, I can also help first time buyers and sellers. And I know more of what they want because I've been in that situation. Also it's just dominated by a certain group of people, like older people and a lot of men too, which is interesting. So I feel like I stick out because I feel like I educate more than sales. If I saw it as sales, it wouldn't be as exciting to me. It's more of I'm helping someone get into a really big thing. It's like buying a house is a very big deal, its a milestone in their life.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING A REALTOR?
I guess my favorite part is my clients, like how I find them or how they find me. It's very exciting to work with someone who's seen that I helped this person or saw that I wrote this article and it really inspired me to get into buying or start even looking into it and it could change my life. So I think that's kinda exciting. And the most interesting part is who I get to work with. I think I've only had a few clients where I'm like maybe we shouldn't work together. The rest I've met some really cool people through working real estate. So it's probably the people I get to meet.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON THAT YOU’VE LEARNED?
I think it is you don't have to be everyone's person. You can say no to someone that you don't want to work in a nice way, like you don't have to say 'no I hate you'. You can say 'no' like in a way I think this person like you can find you can lead them in a different direction. I think thats been really important for me because when I first started I was looking everywhere for leads. And its just hard to work on commission and be like anyone hire me I'll do all the work. And then it's nice now to be able to pick and choose certain clients. I'm still not gonna let go of everyone but it's nice to be able to kind of choose who you want to work with in some ways. And then when you do that, its almost like the clients you want more come to you, which is interesting I've realized. I don't have to meet with every single person. I took a lot of meetings when I first started and I'm like I can't. It's just a time suck sometimes, and you know people don't realize you work on commission. Then they just waste your time. Some people used to ask me on dates when I accepted every meeting. So the more I started to say 'no', I was getting more of what I wanted.
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE STARTING?
Nothing. I'm glad I didn't know anything because I think it's so competitive that I think sometimes, this is also with investing, a lot of people try to learn everything. And the more you try to read up and learn and know, the more you get scared away of making an action. So honestly I really like that I was so naive jumping into it. I was like, whatever I'll make it work. and I think the more you know and the more you have at stake, I think its scarier to make decisions. At least for me. I'm a planner and I like knowing things, but I know myself and if I know too much, I know what could happen. And the more you get in business, the more you have to lose. It's harder to make those hard decisions that you kind of need to make so I'm kinda glad I didn't know anything because who know's I'd still be trying to learn things.
There's nothing I really wish I knew then. Well maybe that most realtors, a lot of realtors, everyone's figuring it out. Nobody knows everything. When I first got my license, I didn't even own a house and the lady at my office was like 'oh a lot of the realtors here don't own houses.' Like how could you even sell a house if you don't have it? Yeah it's just so weird to me. I guess that's one thing. No one has it figured out. It doesn't matter your age or whatever, people are all just kind of pretending a lot of the times.
SO WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I don't know. It could go in a lot of directions. I think I'm in a growing pains spurt of my business right now. I could move a certain direction that seems very scary but also that probably means I should do it. Growing my business is adding people in and...so 10 years how old will I be? 40/39. Business wise or life wise? I guess I see myself less on this scramble of day to day life... I guess more organized in my business. Something I can walk out of and it wont fall apart. Like it can run itself and I want to retire at that age, around that age. Not retire but take myself out at least of the real estate/being a realtor but still continuing to invest.
DO YOU THINK YOU’LL STAY IN AUSTIN OR WOULD YOU CONSIDER A NEW CITY?
I think I would. My goal is to in a summer for 2 months be able to leave Austin and travel and just have that opportunity to do so. Not saying I would every summer, but if I wanted to, I could just take off the 2 months and travel. I think it intertwines with if I had kids, that'd be perfect opportunity. We could leave for a summer and just go explore, go do some volunteer project, a work project. So I think I'd stay in Austin as a home base for now. I really like it and it's important to establish roots in a community especially with what I'm trying to do big picture. So yeah I think I'd stay.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
I don't know. Right now that's where I'm having the most difficulties with being inspired every day. I hit my goal already for the year and now I have to rethink things and like what motivates me. It's not money. I mean I want a certain amount of money, but it's like I've got what I wanted and I'm still in this 'what do I do' phase, which is weird. Probably from like setting certain big goals and working with people who are inspiring. And making sure I'm continuing to meet people who are doing cool things in Austin. I always have a plan of a vacation I'm going to go on in the future so I think that's kind of big. Planning a little bit for the future but also paying attention to what I'm doing now. Always making sure the people in my life are inspiring.